Website Builders: Offline vs Online
When it comes to site creation, the options are almost endless, and one of the most tempting is using a website builder. While many designers consider using ready templates cheating, millions of small and medium-sized business owners have already built their web presence using these handy tools. If you’re looking to create a website yourself without having to hire a web designer, you may want to know what benefits and disadvantages site builders are associated with. Hopefully, this article will shed some light on this topic 🙂 .
Online Website Builders
Online site builders are probably the easiest solution. If you know how to create a Facebook account, upload images to it and update your status, then you’re more than ready to use an online website builder. Generally, online site construction kits are divided into two groups: all-in-one and license-based. Let’s have a closer look at both.
All-in-one platforms. The very name is quite self-explainable: everything you need to create, publish and maintain a website is gathered in one place.
- Benefits: no need to shop around for a domain name and hosting – you can purchase those via the system without leaving your account. Because everything is provided by the same company, your website should work smoothly and without interruptions (there should not be any conflicts). If there are any issues you’ll have contact only one support center.
- Disadvantages: Purchasing a domain through a site builder can be a bit more expensive than getting it from a domain name registrar. In most cases, all-in-one site builders have no import/export features, so if one day you decide to move to another hosting, you won’t be able to take your site with you.
License-based website builders. These platforms provide users with CMS templates which work as standalone site building apps that can run on any server. Take MotoCMS for instance. This website builder doesn’t force its users to use any particular web hosting – they’re free to use any provider.
- Benefits: You can transport your site anytime. No monthly fees and annual renewals – you pay once for the template (+ your hosting fee).
- Disadvantages: You have to purchase a domain and hosting plan elsewhere. When selecting a hosting plan you should pay attention to the template requirements for your website to run smoothly.
Best Online Website Builders
Wix is a universal website builder, which is one of the leaders in the contemporary web design niche. The service is used to launch websites of different types, be it a business website, a portfolio, a landing page, a blog, an online store and what not. The system allows building high quality projects in a few clicks only, has intuitive interface and convenient drag-and-drop editor. Thus, it is a perfect solution for newbies, who are right about to start their web design career and professionals working on the development of client projects.
Wix is an amazingly simple yet flexible and powerful website builder. Among the benefits it offers, the following ones should be the first to mention:
- Convenient and understandable WYSIWYG editor;
- Rich collection of mobile-optimized templates to fit any niche;
- A set of design customization tools to give the chosen theme excellent look and desired performance;
- Wix App Market offering a variety of free and paid applications and widgets;
- Wix ADI tool, which makes it possible to build impressive and functional websites in no time by following the tips the system offers to further generate your website in the automatic mode;
- Advanced SEO characteristics;
- Free neverending plan and four affordable paid plans;
- Blogging and eCommerce platforms;
- Wix mobile editor.
Just like any other website builder, Wix has a few disadvantages, such as:
- Extensive application of widgets, which sometimes overloads the dashboard, making websites a bit structurally-complicated;
- Features offered by the “Connect Domain” do not comply with the cost of the plan, making it unnecessary;
- Some applications and widgets available in the App Market lack quality.
These demerits, however, are not that crucial and the number of the system advantages overwhelms that of disadvantages.
uKit has distinguished itself as a reputable small business website builder. The system comes with multiple web design tools and options, drag-and-drop and intuitive interface, which simplify the web building process for non-techies and enhance the web design productivity for the professionals. The website builder deserves to be known as the easiest website builder ever.
uKit comes with a range of features and tools, which contribute to the efficacy and reputability of the platform. Some of the advantages of the system currently include:
- Convenient and intuitive drag-and-drop interface understandable for users with diverse web building expertise level;
- Distinctive collection of responsive templates to fit different business niches, which come with demo content;
- No coding skills needed to design a website;
- Powerful and versatile design customization tools (adjustment of fonts, styles, scrolling animation effects, 404 page design etc.);
- Multiple business widgets to be integrated into a website (LiveChat, AMO CRM, Google Maps, Callback, SlideShare, Timer, Timeline, SoundCloud etc.);
- Two eCommerce options allowing to build web stores with excellent performance – Ecwid Plugin integration and connection of eCommerce widget;
- SSL Certification, which boosts your website safety level;
- White Label solution that allows using the system under your business name to get extra profit and drive traffic;
- Multilingual support;
- Blogging platform;
- uCalc Online Calculator;
- Affordable pricing policy (uKit has the cheapest plans, offering the top notch features);
- Advanced SEO principles.
When you start exploring the system, it doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks at all. The following features, however, may seem a bit confusing for some users:
- You won’t be able to launch full-featured online stores, forums or mega portals with the system, but these are not the tasks the service is meant for;
- No free plan.
As you see, it’s close to impossible to find uKit drawbacks as the system doesn’t have them, indeed. It is ease-to-use, convenient and doesn’t require a line of coding to get a fully-featured website in no time.
Offline Website Builders
Offline website builders or standalone web editors are also a popular option. They come as downloadable pieces of software that you download and install onto your computer. Benefits: You can work on your site when there’s no Internet connection. You pay once for the software and then pay only for the hosting of choice (similarly to the license-based site makers). Offline sitebuilders seem to be more secure, as they offer some degree of backup. Disadvantages: You can work on your website only using your own computer, as opposed to online site builders that can be accessed from any place using your login and password. As a rule, offline site builders are more complicated.
Best Offline Website Builders
Mobirise is a decent offline website builder, which requires download and installation prior to being used for web building purposes. This, however, doesn’t affect the quality of the web building process as well as the result. The system is known for its convenience, ease-of-use and intuitive nature that makes it the best offline software solution even for non-techies.
Mobirise abounds in positive features, which contribute to the efficacy and functionality of the service. The major merits are as follows:
- Simple and quick installation;
- Availability of over 800 content blocks that make up the web page structure;
- AMP Website Builder, which allows building AMP web pages that feature smooth performance and quick loading;
- Responsive and visually-appealing templates;
- The system is free for commercial and non-commercial use, but it still implies the necessity to buy paid extensions and website hosting;
- Convenient WYSIWYG website editor, supporting drag-and-drop functionality;
- No coding skills needed;
- All websites created with Mobirise are mobile-friendly right from the start;
- Mobirise templates are based on Bootstrap 3 and 4 mobile first frameworks;
- Ability to host a ready made website anywhere you wish, be it FTP, local drive, GitHub, Google Cloud or any other platform of your choice.
Disadvantages of the system are not numerous, but they exist. Some of them are listed below:
- The need to purchase and set up domain name and hosting independently, which may pose a problem for inexperienced users;
- Absence of a cloud dashboard to store website files (instead, they should be stored in another place to be at hand when needed);
- Inability to change template block formats, in the result of which all websites created with Mobirise look a bit similar.
Despite the demerits, the website builder is certainly worth the attention of users, who are looking for a quality, simple and affordable web building tool. As of today, Mobirise remains one of the top offline web building platforms.
Adobe Muse is the offline web building software, which was created with the needs of graphic designers, creatives and web design professionals in mind. The service allows building and publishing simple, static and design-focused websites. It provides an array of features required to build stunning websites without any need to fight with complicated codes or hire web studios to help you reach the goal.
Adobe Muse deserves the attention due to its notable advantages that simplify the web building process and make it convenient and quick. Among the most obvious benefits, it makes sense to mention the following:
- As far as the system is meant for web designers, it may seem a bit complicated for newbies. However, the toolbar of the service as well as its dashboard resemble those of other Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.). For those users, who have worked with the systems, Adobe Muse won’t be complicated at all.
- Impressive web design toolkit;
- Rich choice of integrated free and paid third-party extensions (widgets), which can be configured and edited as you need;
- Text synchronization options;
- Multiple premium self-hosted and Typekit web fonts;
- Integration of blogs, online stores etc;
- Right-to-left language support;
- Thousands of external themes (free and paid);
- Responsive design;
- CSS code editing option;
- Cooperation with the best template providers, such as MuseFree, Muse-Themes, Musegain, MuseGrid to mention a few.
Apart from multiple advantages, the system also has a number of demerits. Some of them include:
- Users, who lack coding skills, will find it complicated to work with the system;
- Absence of ready made templates, which can also be tiresome for non-techies. Fortunately, there are designers and third-party users, who build and sell tailor-made Adobe Muse templates;
- Lack of built-in extensions;
- Feature-heavy interface.
Thus, Adobe Muse is a nice choice for users, who have web building experience and know how to make use of web design coding basics. The system is complicated for newbies, who, however, can look for simpler web building alternatives out there to meet their particular tasks and web design skills.
The assortment of online and offline website builders is quite impressive and can seem somewhat perplexing for inexperienced users, who have the intention to build a quality and functional website. Both options, however, are worth the attention as there are decent services available in each group. Online website builders are simple, intuitive, user-friendly, affordable and feature-rich.
Wix and uKit are the leaders in this niche. The systems allow building different websites with top performance and easy navigation, even if you are not a web design pro. Offline website builders are a bit more complicated for non-tech savvy users and, thus, may require more time to be used to the advantage.
If you still intend to use this kind of service, then it makes sense to choose between Mobirise and Adobe Muse, which are the best services in this particular niche. Whatever website builder you will eventually go for, take your time to explore its major features prior to making your final choice.